Page 2402 - Week 08 - Tuesday, 28 June 2005

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It was an honour to have the charter here in Canberra, if only spiritually as the charter went missing en route to Australia. It was only here for two nights, supposedly before it went to Japan. Hopefully, it has been found by the time we are speaking tonight. Before it got lost it had travelled many miles and through many countries to arrive in Australia since it first left Brazil in March this year. The leg of its journey from Spain to Australia was the handover from Europe to Oceania. Once it leaves Australia spiritually, the charter will continue on to Japan and other parts of Asia, then to the Middle East and finally to Africa. There has been tremendous support for the relay of this charter, with approximately 3,000 indigenous and peasant women from Paraguay gathering on the border with Argentina to watch the charter being handed over.

This week’s events give us cause not only to celebrate the handover of the charter but also to acknowledge the work that all of us have undertaken to ensure that the values of equality, freedom, solidarity, justice and peace continue to be strengthened in our community. The government recognises that every member of the community has the right to participate in all aspects of life in the ACT. Equality and freedom affect the accessibility and the extent of participation in all aspects of society.

I would like to again acknowledge the work of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom in sponsoring the charter’s visit to Australia and congratulate them again on their work in reaching their 90-year milestone. There is an exhibition on the first floor that will be there for the whole of this week. I encourage members and the community to have a look and sign the visitors book.

Calwell shops

MR PRATT (Brindabella) (6.10): Mr Speaker, I rise today to right a wrong which was exercised here in the house last week during a couple of debates and to re-clarify and put the facts squarely on the record. This is in relation to Calwell shops, the motion on Wednesday and, of course, the MPI on Thursday, which heard some rather colourful statements about Calwell shops.

Firstly, last Wednesday I described, in a motion, the state of Calwell shops in terms of security matters, particularly graffiti and the amount of work undertaken and the cost of removing that graffiti. The owners of Calwell shops advised me of the situation on the Tuesday night before we spoke here on the motion about police matters. I had agreed to meet them the following Friday, that is, last Friday.

Of course the reports that I put down here about the state of Calwell shops, the level of crime, vandalism and graffiti were firmly rejected by the minister. Basically, the owners of Calwell shops and others were indeed accused of exaggerating the reality of what was occurring. The minister and Mr Gentleman basically accused them of exaggerating and perhaps embellishing the truth of what had occurred.

In fact, so concerned I think was the minister that he dispatched Mr Gentleman to Calwell shops on Thursday to take photographs. I presume the objective of taking these photographs was to discredit my statement on the previous Wednesday. Of course, the fact that I had clearly said three or four times on the Wednesday that the owners had cleaned the graffiti off in the previous weeks did not seem to matter. The important thing was to take photographs of a clean looking, repaired shopping centre and then come back

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